- Associated Press - Friday, September 11, 2020

OXON HILL, Md. (AP) - A police officer in Maryland has been charged with misdemeanor assault after officials said that he slammed a man to the ground during a traffic stop, leaving him paralyzed.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that a grand jury indicted Cpl. Bryant Strong in Prince George’s County. He faces charges of second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment

Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy said that Strong pulled over Demonte Ward-Blake last year in Oxon Hill for driving a car with expired tags.

Authorities said at the time that Ward-Blake became agitated and the initial responding officer called for backup. Officials said that Ward-Blake tried to flee as officers removed him from the car and handcuffed him, prompting Strong to pull him to the ground.

Ward-Blake’s attorneys say he hit his head on the ground, breaking vertebrae in his neck and spine and leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

“We intend to seek justice on behalf of Mr. Ward-Blake and the community,” Braveboy said. “This is a tragedy.”

Strong could not immediately be reached for comment.

The police union representing officers in the county said in a statement that it was “shocked” by the indictment against Strong.

“We are confident that the evidence will show that his actions were fully justified and within policy,” union local president Angelo Consoli said.

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